Tyson Fury is a strange man, but boxing needs him

Tyson Fury is a strange man, but boxing needs him

There are a number of figures from the world of sport who rank high on the list of people with whom I would like to share a few drinks. Arsene Wenger, mainly to find out why he persisted with Manuel Almunia for so many years. Jonny Wilkinson, to thank him for that drop kick. Jose Mourinho, just because he’s a grumpy twat and I’d like to tell him to his face …

But few would come before heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury. After nearly three years out of the ring, the Gypsy King returns with a fight against unheralded Albanian Sefer Seferi tomorrow night, and boxing will be all the better for it.

What is so brilliant about sport is that, broken down to the bare bones, it is nothing more than a bit of light entertainment. Yes, it has immense power to change lives and bring people together, but ultimately it is just one group of people trying to show they are better than another group of people at a particular activity, and we the fans pay to watch it because it is entertaining. I challenge you all to think of somebody who is more entertaining, pound for pound, than Tyson Fury.

From turning up to a press conference dressed in a batman suit, to partying with England football fans at Euro 2016, the man is pure comedy gold. One post is not long enough to do justice to the pantheon of great Tyson Fury quotes, but perhaps my favorite is his response to a question regarding the prevalence of performance-enhancing drug use in boxing during an interview in 2017:

“I only take cocaine, and weed now and again … and extasy.” The heavyweight champion of the world openly admits, on camera, to using class A drugs without even being questioned on the subject. Lance Armstrong, take note.

Then, of course, there are his comments about his rivals in the heavyweight division.  While Anthony Joshua admirably refuses to get drawn into a war of words with Deontay Wilder, preferring to “get down to business”, Fury describes the American as a “chinless piece of shit”. David Haye has been labelled a “no good wannabe Bollywood actor”, Vladimir Klitschko a “devil worshipper”.

For Derek Chisora, he employs a brilliantly simple, direct, and yet devastatingly effective accusation from the school playground:

“You’re ugly and I’m not.”

Now, thanks to the wonderful world of social media, new soundbites like these are available every day. If you’re in need of a new celebrity to follow on Instagram, look no further than gypsyking101.

But in the midst of all the bizarre ramblings and shenanigans, it is easy to forget what a great boxer he is. In his now infamous victory over Klitschko in 2015, Fury completely dominated and outboxed a champion who had not been defeated for 11 years. He might not be as powerful or muscular as others in the division right now (Joshua and Wilder spring to mind), but he has an excellent jab, unparalleled reach, and supreme boxing skill.

However much people ridicule him – with good reason, of course – Fury is capable of beating anyone in the world. The Klitschko victory proved that, and although he may appear fat, at just 29 years of age there is no reason to think that Fury isn’t reaching the peak of his physical condition (his penchant for drug use notwithstanding).

Promoters and fans alike will be hoping this is the start of a great and long-lasting comeback, because the return of this undefeated, charismatic and controversial fighter can only be good for boxing. Sure, Joshua is a brillliant athlete, respectful of his opponents and an ideal role model for kids … but that gets boring after a while. Every great film has a great villian.

Let me know your thoughts on Tyson Fury in the comments section below!

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